24
votes
3answers
1k views

Has Britain's 1940 invasion of Iceland been downplayed by historians?

On the face of it Operation Fork (Britain's invasion of Iceland in 1940) wasn't so terribly different from Germany's territorial landgrabs in 1939 and 1940. Britain and her allies will have ...
21
votes
3answers
531 views

What is the earliest known account of the modern military salute?

The military salute, made with right hand to head of a soldier, seems to be a European tradition, however it is adopted by many armies in the world. What are origins of this gesture? I came across a ...
21
votes
3answers
5k views

How did Nazi Germany finance itself during WW2?

How did Nazi Germany finance itself during the war? They produced a large amount of war material during 1939-1945, but how was this production financed? What were Germany's revenue streams that ...
18
votes
4answers
181 views

How would you accurately use older British currencies when writing a story?

For writing a story set in Napoleonic Wars era, how should one use the currencies accurately? I read in novels they use currencies like shilling, pound, guinea, sovereign, four (or six-, etc) pence, ...
17
votes
7answers
3k views

Why did the US drop nuclear bombs on a weakened Japan?

Why did the United States drop two nuclear bombs on the Japanese mainland? It appeared that Japan was ready to surrender.
15
votes
1answer
859 views

What percentage of the population in the “Old West” actually carried handguns?

I'm hoping cenus information and historical gun manufacturing records make this an answerable question. What percentage of the population in the Old West actually carried handguns? Was it a minority ...
15
votes
3answers
844 views

What is the earliest evidence of contact between Ireland and Egypt?

There is a folk tale of an Egyptian princess in Ireland around 1700 BC. Is there credible evidence of early contact between the two places?
14
votes
2answers
404 views

How did Hitler behave towards all those whom he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power?

What do we know of Hitler's acts and attitudes towards those people he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power? For example, his World War One comrades? Did they receive and attention ...
13
votes
4answers
770 views

How many Samurai killed themselves?

I'm curious if the Samurai killed themselves often in shame. Losing face and dishonor seems to be the major cause (from what I've read) but how often would they do it? I apologize if I'm not being ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

What's the advantage of the infantry column formation in the Napoleonic Wars?

In movies/books set in the Napoleonic Wars, the British are normally deployed into lines and the French into columns. The columns are usually the advancing ones, charging into the line as the line ...
12
votes
3answers
352 views

Recognition of Palestine?

What was Palestine before, if not a country? Could you give me some history on this? Also, the recent recognition of Palestine as a country in the UN could have far reaching implications. Are there ...
12
votes
1answer
342 views

Why did Meiji consider switching from Japanese to English?

During the Meiji restoration, the Emperor sought to switch Japan's national language from Japanese to English. Why was that? Why, ultimately, was it unsuccessful? The Role of English and Other ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between the Middle Ages and the Dark Ages?

Is there any difference between the "Middle Ages" and the "Dark Ages"?
11
votes
3answers
588 views

French gains after the American Revolutionary War

Did France gain anything significant (territories or other concessions) at the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War? I tried to look up for it, but what I found were very minor (Senegal in ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How much faster were the printing presses than hand writing?

How many times faster were the printing presses, which gave Europe an advantage over other continents in term of access to knowledge, compared to copying of books by hand?
9
votes
3answers
325 views

What wars were started when an indebted country refused to pay?

For example, France invaded Mexico (both times) when Mexico stopped some of their payments. What are some other examples?
8
votes
0answers
84 views

How accurate is quantitative evidence included in Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico?

Two pieces of evidence in relation to Caesar's Comentarii de Bello Gallico currently seem to suggest two different conclusions as to the authors veracity in reporting numbers. One is from a comment ...
8
votes
2answers
973 views

What were Rommel's views on the Nazi crimes?

Erwin Rommel is often portrayed as the chivalrous Nazi. I've read on the internet that he once proposed to Hitler that a Jew be appointed a Nazi official, but I'm not able to verify that. What were ...
8
votes
3answers
422 views

Is the USA Congress explicitly patterned after the British Parliament?

I have always presumed this to be the case. They have a similar form: two chambers, the lower representing "all the people" and the upper representing, very roughly speaking, "institutional forces" ...
8
votes
2answers
534 views

Which city was attacked by Nazi-German war flights in India during WW2?

Nazi-Germany ran a bombing raid over India, in WW2. Which city was bombed, and what effect did it have? i.e how many casualties, or was transport closed down.
8
votes
3answers
801 views

Was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age violent?

In Europe, when the Bronze Age ended and the Iron Age began, was it a peaceful spread of technology, or was it a violent conquest where the newcomers were able to win by their more advanced ...
8
votes
4answers
929 views

At the end of WWII, were nazis working on any other super weapon besides V-2?

At the end of WWII, were nazis working on anything else besides V-2? If so, what was it, how close was it to completion, and could it potentially turn the events around for them?
7
votes
3answers
898 views

What forces/incentives drove the Mongols to conquer a much larger land territory than they could comfortably settle or rule?

Internet resources on the Mongol Empire usually dwell on the Mongol conquests of a huge mass of territory. Unfortunately, seldom are the reasons behind the conquests explained. One gets the impression ...
7
votes
2answers
371 views

Is there a possibility that the Islamic civilization visited America before Colombus?

Islamic sources claim that there is historical evidence that an Islamic explorer visited America before Colombus and the Age of Discovery. An example. Columbus Was Not The First To Cross The Atlantic. ...
7
votes
2answers
482 views

What are the latest publications demolishing the Aryan invasion/migration theory?

Recent findings in archaelogy and related fields have led scholars to replace "invasion" with "migration" in the "Aryan invasion" theory. E.g. Romila Thapar in this edition of The Penguin History of ...
7
votes
2answers
285 views

What sources or documentation exists to indicate Stalin's level of popularity in Russia today?

migrated from comments http://history.stackexchange.com/a/1710/682 To what extent is Stalin still loved and/or respected by Russians (and for extra points former USSR states) while articles like ...
6
votes
1answer
169 views

What were acceptance criteria/process to the Vienna Fine Arts Academy in 1906-7?

One famous applicant rejected by the Vienna Fine Arts Academy was of course, Hitler. I got to thinking: so who was accepted instead? To make sense of this we would need to know how was the admission ...
6
votes
1answer
198 views

Orphism's alleged influence on Christianity

I've read in Nils Johan Ringdal's delightful but ill-footnoted Love For Sale: A World History of Prostitution that the apostle Paul was influenced by Orphism when he set out to weaken women's roles in ...
6
votes
1answer
407 views

What was the status of specialized workers during the Roman times?

It's obvious that people in the Senate or people with political power would be considered of higher status, while ordinary plebs, such as farmers, would have a lower status. However, where exactly ...
6
votes
5answers
504 views

In the United States government, has there been cases that electoral colleges don't vote for the candidate the majority of their state voted for?

Has there ever been a case where electoral colleges vote for someone the people didn't vote for during an election for president of the United States?
6
votes
5answers
422 views

What incentives are in place for American soldiers to go fight in Iraq?

I am from Brazil, a country that has not fought any war since WW2. If you join the army, go fight in Iraq and then return, what will the USA pay you? Is there a health plan for life, a pension, or ...
5
votes
2answers
292 views

How did the Egyptian engineers of the Third and Fourth Dynasty construct the Pyramids and Sphinx without modern science and mathematics? [closed]

What was the "state of the art" in engineering, science, and mathematics in Ancient Egypt when the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids were built during the Third and Fourth Dynasties? How did they ...
5
votes
1answer
81 views

What family or other connection bound Chiang Kaishek and Cai Yuanpei, two ideological opposites?

Politically, Nationalist China's Chiang Kaishek must be considered a "strange bedfellow with Cai Yuanpei. Chiang was a disciplined, narrow-minded conservative of the type one might expect from a ...
5
votes
1answer
437 views

How did ethnic Turkish people embrace Islam?

How was Islam spread among Turkish population or in historical Turkey? How did ethnic Turkish people embrace Islam?
4
votes
1answer
290 views

Did the Greeks win the battle of Salamis because their rowers were “free”?

While I was at university in the late 1970s, I was told by a faculty advisor that the Greek rowers at the Battle of Salamis were given cushions that greatly increased their comfort and efficiency (and ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did Britain not purchase Alaska when Russia had it up for sale?

One thing that comes up often when discussing "what-ifs" with family or friends is why the British government never nabbed Alaska when Russia had placed it up for sale and made it into Canada's fourth ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

How severe were the casualties in ancient/medieval battles?

I've heard that in most battles prior to the introduction of gunpowder weapons, the casualties were usually very low (around 5% even in long battles) prior to the moment when someone's formation was ...
17
votes
3answers
12k views

Why did Italy abandon its alliance with Germany in WW1 and join the Allied side?

Before WW1 Italy was part of an alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, yet it didn't join them when the war started and it even joined the Allied side later during the war. Why did Italy do this? ...
15
votes
1answer
572 views

Did “droit du seigneur” actually exist in medieval Europe?

Droit du seigneur, also known as "jus primae noctis" (right of the first night), was the supposed right of a feudal lord to sleep with his serfs' brides on their wedding night. Was it actually ...
15
votes
1answer
388 views

Was there any theological opposition to the lightning rod?

Apparently, there was some opposition to the lightning rod at the time of its invention because lightning was seen as "the wrath of God" and should not be controlled. I'd like to find some citations ...
15
votes
3answers
696 views

Why was the Western Front so static in World War I?

Once the German advance was halted, neither side could seriously advance for two years. This seems like an extraordinarily long time. Why didn't anyone succeed at going around the trenches or striking ...
14
votes
2answers
226 views

How did ancient empires account for slow propagation of information e.g. in their legal codes?

Mathematician Alain Connes cites a French legal rule that explicitly accounts for propagation of information at finite speeds substantially below the speed of light: There was a legal rule ...
14
votes
3answers
318 views

What was Libya's form of direct democracy (Jamahiria) like in practice?

I've been following the recent events in Libya and I learned about the Green Book, which outlines Gaddafi's vision for a democratic socialism. Published in 1975, it proposed a form of direct democracy ...
13
votes
1answer
603 views

What is the state of the art historical analysis of claims that Carthaginians discovered America?

The Carthaginians, and the Phoenicians in general, are renowned for their seafaring abilities. There is evidence for their circumnavigation of Africa, and strong evidence for the fact that Hanno the ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Why wasn't San Marino unified with Italy?

Why wasn't San Marino unified with the Kindom of Italy during the unification process? Were there plans or efforts at the time to unify the two states? Did either government at any time try to annex ...
12
votes
2answers
610 views

Are there any archaeological evidence for the Dorian Invasion in Greece?

My books on ancient Greece are pretty old. And they have have the same explanation for Doric vs. Ionic ethnicity/history. Are there any archaeological evidence for a Dorian invasion?
12
votes
5answers
491 views

Was there ever any organization of thieves or pickpockets?

Can anyone suggest any historical examples of an established group specifically dedicated to organized thievery (any combination of property based crimes such as pick-pocketing, lock-picking, fencing, ...
11
votes
2answers
195 views

Who gave King Richard I the title Coeur de Lion?

When King Richard I went to the Holy land during the Third Crusade, he was given the title coeur de lion (French for lion heart). Who gave him that title? I Imagine that it was a French person.
11
votes
3answers
506 views

What factors related to the Eastern Crisis contributed to the outbreak of World War 1?

What factors related to the Eastern Crisis contributed to the outbreak of World War 1? The Eastern Crisis pertains to problems posed by the decay of the Ottoman Empire. Primary among these problems ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Could The Soviet Union have continued fighting World War II without Caucasus oil?

In 1942, Germany's Fall Blau was initially aimed at capturing or interdicting shipments of oil from the Caucasus to the rest of the Soviet Union. Even though armies were diverted to Stalingrad and ...

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